From the Field Profiles

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Guild by association: Partnership grant organizes Maryland cheesemakers

Although consumer demand for local Maryland artisanal and farmstead cheeses is high, state regulatory hurdles have created significant barriers for this emerging industry. Working with Ginger Myers, agricultural marketing specialist with the University of Maryland Extension, a committed group of farmstead cheese producers and agriculture support specialists teamed up to form the Maryland Cheesemakers’ Guild […]

Rutgers student traces genetic trail of BMSB

Knowing that early detection is the most effective strategy to control invasive species, Rutgers University PhD student Rafael Valentin used his Northeast SARE Graduate Student grant to explore a technique using insect DNA to track the brown marmorated stinkbug (BMSB, Halyomorpha halys). Within the past 20 years, BMSB has become a devastating pest across the […]

Food hub faces the challenges of scaling up ethnic produce

The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (NESFP), led by Jennifer Hashley, has a 20-year history of training next generation farmers—including immigrant and refugee growers—to improve local food systems. A recent Northeast SARE Partnership grant supported the Project’s food hub initiative aimed at long-term economic self-reliance among farmers while expanding access of healthy, culturally-appropriate foods in […]

Geese on Pasture

Wesley Bascom of Gozzard City LLC conducted a Northeast SARE Farmer Grant project to look at pastured goose production in northern Vermont. Wesley wanted to track the impact of different levels of grain supplementation for geese on pasture. He divided the goose flock into three groups of approximately 60 each and supplemented one group with […]

Pollinator buffers improve poultry farm sustainability & neighbor relations

Like many farms across the region, Hill Farms, Inc. in Houston, Delaware has seen in increase in residential development surrounding their farm. Because maintaining positive neighbor relations is important to this poultry operation, owner Tina Hill conducted a Northeast SARE Farmer Grant project to install a mixed vegetative buffer adjacent their poultry houses. Tina was […]

Project expands leafy green production in WV’s Eastern panhandle

The Eastern Panhandle region of West Virginia is the fastest growing area in the state and is adjacent to large, diverse populations like Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. To meet the emerging demand for fresh produce from regional wholesale markets like hospitals, school districts and other institutional buyers, Lewis Jett of West Virginia University conducted a […]

Sustainable wine course goes online

In the vineyard industry, the task of communicating to customers is often left to winery sales and hospitality staff who may not know much about the farming end of the business. Whitney Beaman of Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, NY recognized that educating winery employees who hold customer-facing roles (including tasting room, wine club and wholesale […]

Maine leads project using winter ecology to manage small ruminant parasites

For many small ruminant operations, grazing is central to farm profitability. However, grazing livestock increases risks of losses due to parasite-infested pastures. Haemonchus contortus, Barber pole worm, is a particular threat to sheep and goat farms throughout the Northeast region. Although H. contortus (as a subtropical parasite) has adapted to northern climates, Jim Weber of […]

UMD student studies the intersection of food safety and irrigation water

Salmonella enterica is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the United States. Since Salmonella has been a food safety concern for vegetables produced on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with surface water and sediments identified as possible reservoirs for these bacteria, University of Maryland student Angela Ferelli conducted a Northeast SARE Graduate Student […]

Ginger: An ancient crop in the New World

Melissa Bahret of Old Friends Farm in Amherst, Massachusetts, saw that her greenhousewas sitting idle in the late spring and summer, after her vegetable starts were in the ground or sold to customers.  She and her business partner, Casey Steinberg, were looking for new ways to use the space and to complement the flowers, salad […]

New weed control tools for smaller farms

Weed control is an important issue on vegetable farms, and it can be particularly challenging on smaller farms that lack effective mechanization. This Partnership Grant addressed that issue and also leveraged a variety of other resources to study innovative tools that could have wide applicability to the many small vegetable farms in our region. The […]

Fair Trade Strategy for Northeast “Eco-Growers”

For Northeast apple farmers it was a matter of survival. Facing a perfect storm of rising land, oil and labor prices, along with fierce competition from China and Chile, the apple farmers needed to find new revenue streams fast. They began a collaboration with Red Tomato, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization that helps connect consumers to […]

Tackling the Thorny Issues, Linking Practitioners

As the ranks of organic farmers swell in America, so does the need for answers to tough problems in organic agriculture. For example, how can weeds be controlled without soil-eroding tillage? How can risk be minimized? How can farmers learn from one another? Thanks to researcher/educators like Anu Rangarajan of Cornell University, new and transitioning […]

Simple P Test Yields Millions in Savings

John Maxwell, a Geneseo, N.Y., dairy farmer, used to apply more than 60 pounds of phosphorus per acre when planting his 250 acres of corn. But after participating in a SARE-funded, statewide research project aimed at helping growers fine-tune their use of starter phosphorus fertilizers, he has reduced that to about 20 pounds per acre, […]

On-Farm Biodiesel 101

In Thurmont, Md., farmer Charlie Kolb produced about 5,000 gallons of biodiesel in 2009, and he is teaching a neighbor how to do the same. Sebastian Kretschmer makes biodiesel at a nonprofit farm in Kimberton, Penn., where he holds biodiesel production demonstrations for visitors. Staff at Greensgrow Farm in Philadelphia save thousands each year by […]

Large-Scale Help for Small-Scale Farmers

Lydia Sisson had worked on farms before, but when it came to taking the next step—going into business for herself—she hesitated, unsure of how to navigate the complexities of acquiring land, keeping the books, analyzing the market and more. But after taking a business training course through the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project in early […]